Traditionally, rent payment has been managed primarily through hefty contracts and lots of legalese. Bank transactions sometimes bounce, and some landlords even have to go and visit their tenants to collect their payments in cash.
Ant Financial, an affiliate company of the more familiar Alibaba Group, wants to improve upon this dynamic by throwing smart contracts into real estate as part of its plan to develop several blockchain-based applications to capitalize on the new technology’s game-changing impact.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, vice president Geoff Jiang said,
“Ant Financial is building a smart contract platform which can be applied to industries such as the industrial, finance and leasing markets.”
Part of the company’s agenda includes biometric authentication and automatic payment solutions that will make the rental experience, according to Jiang, “more convenient and efficient”.
Because smart contracts are self-executing constructs, one could theoretically encounter a situation in which an apartment’s biometric scanner authenticates the tenant into their home and automatically withdraws money from their account.
China has recently been through a massive upheaval as far as cryptocurrencies are concerned, where the government has taken swift action to restrict anything to do with them and ICOs.
Despite the decisive measures taken by the country’s government, companies based in its more autonomous areas still act like nothing’s really changed. One of Macau’s gaming companies, for example, plans to launch an ambitious ICO to raise half a billion dollars.
In such a large country, it is extraordinarily difficult to clamp down on these innovations. After all its efforts, China may have just inspired clandestine investments.
Ant Financial is one of the companies that doesn’t feel discouraged by its home country’s restrictive measures as it turns its attention to blockchain, including it in an agenda that melds this new invention together with artificial intelligence, security, the internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing (BASIC).
“If big data and cloud computing in the era of fintech 1.0 are like the motor vehicle engines, BASIC in fintech 2.0 is the capability to manufacture cars or even autonomous driving mobiles,”
said Hu Xi, president of Ant Financial, in his conversation with the South China Morning Post.
This Alibaba Group affiliate may be spotting a trend here as fintech companies continue to chip away at the foundations of more traditional technologies in banking and finance.
Newer initiatives such as crowdfunding have been taking center stage, doubling in size in terms of the volume of capital raised in 2016.
Similar to the appearance of economical vehicles, which led public transportation companies to abandon rail-driven streetcars in favor of bus transportation, the rise of fintech and the rapid adoption of blockchain-based technologies might erode the traditional ways in which organizations and individuals engage in business.